Time Flies (Still)

So the boys had some more photos taken with a coworker of mine who is working on honing her photog skills. She has taken their photos before, and this time she got some great candid images of my babies. We met her at a gorgeous park in Cincinnati, which is a prime spot for photography, it would seem. Well, at least there were a bunch of others there that day for the same purpose. We saw baby bump photos, wedding and engagement photos, and family photos being taken. I just wanted some playful, casual shots of the boys, as they are growing up before my eyes. And as always, I see the photos and I still see the newborns they once were. Time goes so quickly, and with grad school now, I am always hustling and bustling to and from one destination or another. And I miss them so much. While I wasn’t looking, Evan turned eleven years old. Two more years with him until he is a teenager. I want to clutch them to me and beg them to slow down. In the mean time, I remind myself daily that I am doing all of this for them. At some point, so help me, I will be able to honestly say that I can give them anything they want. Anything. The best home, the best education. Opportunities that they may not have had if I had not pushed myself to get these higher degrees. But in the meantime, I keep my nose to the grindstone, cherish every tiny moment I am given with them, and count the days until I am finished.

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The Bonds We Make

Evan went on his annual trip to spend time with his grandparents this past week. I used to relish these trips because they gave us a break, and then we had Zach. Well, Zach is just too young to go away like that, so for the past couple of years, this time has left us with only one child. And it always goes the same way, each and every time: at first the peace and quiet is nice. I forgot how quiet it can be just having a baby or toddler in the house. But then? Well, then the dust settles and I miss Evan terribly. Palpably. There is a massive void that only Ev could fill. And I start to ponder my relationship with my oldest child. He is challenging-oh, so challenging–but he is mine. He is a part of this home. An integral part that cannot ever be replaced. And then I realize that, while he may be a challenge, I am as bonded to that child as anyone could ever be. He is a part of me. But this year? Well, this year brought a different reaction.

I can remember when I discovered I was pregnant with Zach. My immediate thoughts revolved around our life and how Evan, having been an only-child for eight years, would handle a sibling after all of that time. Evan is a good kid, a kind kid. But Evan is also over-indulged. Everything we had ever done was about him. The toys he wanted, the resttaurants he preferred, the activities he wanted to do. Extra money? Hmmm, what to buy Evan? Suddenly, some of that was over. No warning, as we had none. And then we had Zach, and I wondered and worried some more. How were the two of them going to relate to one another when I had them so far apart? I ensured that they will never have anything in common with the age gap of eight plus years between them. Well, amazing child that he is, Evan stunned me. He loves his baby brother. He looks out for him. He will start endless campaigns to get Zach new toys if he feels Zach would love them. He almost tries to parent Zachary. He is his Big Brother, and he took to the role like he was made for it all along. But suddenly, the summer trips were not about just a break or us missing him. This past trip has been a little difficult. Sweet and heart-breaking, too.

It started in the car. We met John’s mom and step-dad at the halfway point, each of us driving 2 hours. We all ate lunch together. And then it was time to go. We distracted Zach while Evan got in the car and buckled his seatbelt. And then Zach saw him in the car and the whimpers started. “Bubby?”, blended with the sound of little tears. And As we drove off, the crying got a little worse until he finally fell asleep. I thought that would be the end of it, until he woke about an hour later with he same little whimper. Bubby was gone, had gone “Bye-bye in the car”, and no nap could make that go away. He got to where he was eventually okay, but it took a little while. Then the week without Evan started. He came back here to this house with the children’s photos all over the place. And everyday this week, he has awakened and run to the window to look for Bubby to return in the car.  And at night, when we make our nightly call to Evan to tell him we love and miss him, to hear about all of the fun things he is getting to do (“A waterpark?”, “Just how big was that fish you caught?”), to remind him to behave, to wear his sunscreen, and not let Grandma forget his medicine, we can hear it in his voice: the tears, always, when he gets to the part where he tells Zach that he loves him.

When I had my kids, I got kind of selfish. They are mine. Nobody can love them the way I do. The primary relationship is with me, their mother. The hand that rocks the cradle and all of that. But I forget. I didn’t create children. I created lives. Lives that are rich with others who love them also. And this week has shown me that all of the worrying I did about the age gap between children was for nothing. These boys are as bonded together as I am with each of them. I created brothers. They are in it together, and while they may be too far apart to enjoy the same things, they know each other. Zach, in Evan’s absence, would get excited when the shows Evan likes would come on the television. Evan would call me to tell me that “Bubble Guppies” (the one and only show Zachy watches and enjoys) was about to come on. Evan saw something in a store down there that Zach would like, and up here, at the weekly trip to the grocery store, Zach expected us to pick up the things Evan likes. It seems that the topic, all week long, has been Zach’s Bubby.

So I am going to leave you with this: Zach latched on to a photo of Evan and carried it around most of the week. He wouldn’t give it up. I would have to sneak it from him at times when he would not be supervised, since the frame had glass in it. But that was Zachy’s way of keeping his Bubby with him all week.

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We Do Not Beat Our Children, Schedules are Meant for Rearranging, and More Discoveries

We’re all about discoveries here in the Bitchypants household. Here are a few new ones.

We are finding the need to defend ourselves as parents. Not that anyone has accused me of anything. But still. Zach is into, well, EVERYFUCKINGTHING. He climbs up, crawls over and under, dives off of any surface he can find. And more and more, he is getting the little bumps and bruises of toddlerhood. And when you go out in public and your baby has a big bruise, you feel like you have to tell the story of how to everyone. He climbed up on a rolling toy…..he dove off of the arm of the sofa….he slipped and fell. This last one was a little harder to expalin. John was getting him out of bed in the morning and Zach was doing his usual game of “Catch me, Bitch” when John reached for him and Zachy head-butted John’s hand. Only John’s finger made contact with a little toddler eye. Yeah. Zachy go his first black eye. Insert big frowny face here. The evidence:

See! Even in the photo, he is climbing on a toy, reaching onto my desk. Seriously, kid!

Schedules are meant to be rearranged. Fo’ reals, yo! But here is the most awesome picture of the past week:

See that? No conditions there. Just my admission packet. For my MBA program. I am officially in. No ” You should be fine.” No “conditional admission”. Just……in. IN. IN!!!

So I made an appointment to schedule my classes for October and the shit got tricky. I only have three courses left to take of my first-year MBA program. What they call the foundation courses. And those are offered in intensive half-semesters. I finish the BSBA in September, so I could start the second half of the MBA session in October. Except none of my classes are offered then. They’re all offerred in August. They were going to make an exception and let me start while simultaneously finishing my last month of my BSBA, but ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???? I have a job. And kids. And I do not have a death wish. Especially considering that my first semester of the MBA will be full of financial accounting, macroecon, microecon, and one of the 700-level courses. No. So the solution? This summer, while John is off of his classes, I am going to triple my BSBA courses so I will finish August 15th and can start the MBA the following week. So I learned that where there is a will, there truly is a way.

Evan is a Con Artist. Seriously.

All of this time, we have been fighting him over homework. He made a confession to his therapist. Since he gets perfect test scores, he can pass without completing his homework, so in his mind, why should he do it? So on the nights when he fights and has meltdowns, we try and try before finally giving up and sending a note to his teacher. The next day, she keeps him in at recess to do what he didn’t do the night before. But it got to be too much. And so she changed it up. Now, he gets a zero like everybody else. And the result? He’s doing his homework. And scoring even higher on tests.

The proof is in his science test from this past week. My kid has been conning us all. Little booger.

Zachy started speech and is making strides every day. And he is getting it. Proof? Yesterday in the car, John missed his exit on the interstate, and responded with a “DAMN!!!” And from the backseat, crystal clear, we hear this baby voice say, “Damn!” The other day Zachy was playing outside and he was getting close to the infamous snake sighting of 2010. And I exclaimed, “Zachy, no, SNAKES!” To which he exclaimed, “SAKES!!!!” N left out intentionally. We say “Bus”, “WalMart”, “Evan” or “Bubby”, “Eat”, “SpongeBob”. He signs for “more”, “please”, “help”, “all done”, “eat”, and “drink”.  And e has the  cutest, throaty baby voice that melts my heart. I realized this is the first time I am really hearing it.

I was thinking about the next month or so when I realized that I never requested off for Zach’s second birthday. I was assuming it would fall on Saturday this year since it was  Friday last year. But it is Sunday. It’s Mother’s Day. His second birthday. The 13th. Mom’s birthday used to fall on Mother’s Day sometimes, too. And I hate Mother’s Day. And this year, we really can celebrate. Npw more than ever, I think Mom sent Zach to me. And P.S.–how in the hell is he already going to be turning TWO????

I think that about sums it up. For now. I’m sure there will be more as drama unfolds. We always have some of that.

Sprung

Somehow winter came and went. No real snow. We had a few flurries, but that’s it. And somehow, we have skipped over spring. I’m pissed because I just bought Zach a wardrobe of cute sweaters and thin long-sleeved shirts for when the weather is cool but not cold. But we skipped that stage. No, we went straight to summer. It is supposed to over 80 degrees for 4 of the seven days this week. Shit.

I hate summer. Sorry. I do. A) I’m a fatty. I hate wearing shorts. I like layers and roomy hoodies and sweaters. I have short legs, so capris look awful. I work best in a hoodie, jeans and gym shoes. B) I’m allergic to grass and trees, bees, wasps, and just about everything else that comes out with sunshine. C) Back to being a fatty. Animal fat melts in heat. Turns to mush, then oil. Humans are, essentially, animals, are we not? I swear my fat cells melt and try to come out of my pores in fucking summer. I swear it.

But regardless, it’s here. Shit. So I am doing my best to put on a smiley face and be a good, fun mom. We have taken the boys out whenever possible. Zach is really fun this year, since he is old enough to run and play on his own. He really enjoys the park now, though pulling him away when it is time to go home is more of a challenge. So here are some photos from one of our first really nice days.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles–Wait, No Planes

Well, mainly because I hate to fly. I’m not once of these crazy-scared ones. I’ll get on a plane. I just don’t like it and fear for a fiery death in the back of my mind the entire time. Maybe it’s the whole laws-of-gravity thing, as in I’m fat and we shouldn’t tempt fate by keeping me up in the air like that. But anyway…

A couple  of new developments. Katie, the photographer from Heaven, had an opening for a session with the boys and I couldn’t pass it up. This time was a lot simpler and exhausting at the same time. The boys were dressed very casually as we met at a local train museum. Well, really it’s like a train graveyard, full of old cars–cabooses, engines, passenger cars. There were even some switches and lights for he boys to play with, and I literally put Zach down and told both boys to just go, all while Katie did her snap-snap-snap  thing. Today, she posted a few on her Facebook page as a sneak peak, and I love them. Once again, she captured them so well that it is as if my babies live in these photos.

This last one is proof, at least to me, that even when he’s hurting, Evan eats the camera. Maybe it is just me, but I can see the pain underneath in this photo, despite the fact that he had sent over an hour running and playing, and just being a kid.

Remember when John said he wasn; going to call his family until they called him, all after their reaction to our telling them of Evan’s issues? Well, John is John. And Friday was his mother’s birthday, so he couldn’t not call her to wish her a happy birthday. It’s just who he is. But the end resul is that after his mom sounded “sad” on the phone, according to him, we are making a trip down there for Thanksgiving, albeit a short one because I have to work Thanksgiving night. This ccould be very interesting. I’ll keep you posted.

My Favorite That I Just Found and I Have to Share (All Night Blog-a-Thon #4)

Sorry, I know the last thing you want to see is another photo of my kids.

But I found this on the Facebook page of the ICU nurse who took the boys’ photos. And I love it. I wish Zach were smiling. But this photo is all about Evan. He eats the camera. That rotten, mischeivous smirk is so….Evan. And I love it. I don’t want stiff, posed photography. I want images that show my kids as they are. And that is what this one does for me. My favorite.

PS–Evan totally picked out those hats. He truly is an old soul.